History major

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Do you enjoy reading and studying history, but don’t know what jobs are available to history majors? Chances are, the only history majors you know are teachers and you’re not sure if that’s the direction you want to go. Of course Central offers a standard major with an option of obtaining certification to teach, but it offers an emphasis in public history, which increases student’s skills and career options. Very few colleges and universities offer such an emphasis at the undergraduate level.

Exposure to public history encourages students to pursue careers at places such as museums, institutional and business archives, national parks, government historic sites, and local, state and national historical societies. Students with the knowledge and skills of a public historian are equipped with the skills to pursue many career options.



News about History

Living History

Mark Barloon, lecturer of history, has had a passion for American history since he was a child—and he shares that enthusiasm with his students.

Four Majors, More Fun

Sophomore Riley Burkart is making the most of his Central experience--with four majors and countless extracurricular pursuits, Burkart is charting a course for success. 


In the Apple Trees

Inspired by a railroad magnate and his city’s history, first-year Zach Russell saved the 19th century Apple Trees building in his native Burlington.


Central's campus has transformed many times over its 160 year history.

Bringing the Boys Home

Senior history major Tony Pearson began with a simple research project about the Civil War but got sucked into the emotional saga of two Central brothers who gave their lives for their country.


Successful Careers

Because history students develop critical reading skills, the ability to careful interpret evidence and clear expository writing skills, history graduates are always in demand by commercial, financial, educational and governmental employers. Central College history majors participate in a variety of exciting careers — archivist, intelligence analyst, journalist, law enforcement officer, librarian, museum curator, politician, teacher, and graduate / law student as well as the following:


Internships are increasingly popular with Central history students both in this country and abroad. Stimulating experiences can be arranged in Central’s Chicago and Washington, D.C., programs at organizations such as the Chicago Historical Society, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of the Treasury.

Also, many students continue participate in-state internship opportunities at the Iowa State Historical Society, Living History Farms, the Hoover Presidential Library, the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, and the Amana Heritage Museum.

Several recent examples of student internships include the following sites:

Learn more about internships at Central.


Central’s broad range of history courses will stimulate and deepen your study of history. Central’s history curriculum covers not only all time periods from the classic to modern era, but also a large diversity of regions representing a significant part of the world. Student’s can take courses in Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Latin American history, in addition to courses in United States and European history. Few colleges of Central’s size offer students so many courses covering so much of the world. Moreover, the research interest of Central’s history faculty contribute to the breadth and depth of the department’s course offerings. These include courses in military history, political history and popular culture (including a historical perspective on sports, movies and music).

American History

Asian History

European History

Military History

Other Topics

Sample Schedule

Freshman year

Sophomore year

Junior year

Senior year

Get more details from the course catalog! (Note: this is a PDF file)


Central College is one of the most beautiful college campuses you'll find. A perfect mix of old and new, our buildings reflect our history and our future. Central's distinctive library is spacious and a popular haven with more than 230,000 volumes, computer stations, a multimedia collection and an extensive online computerized catalog.


No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group or organization that you’ll be interested in. History students might be interested in Central's History Club.

In addition, students earning a 3.1 grade point average in their history courses after taking 12 semester hours of these courses, and an overall grade point average of 3.0 have the opportunity to join Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society. The Central College chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha Eta Tau, was established in 1995.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

Field trips

Many history classes include opportunities for students to experience the past firsthand. Recently, students have toured Civil War battlefields in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Mississippi. They’ve enjoyed behind-the-scenes access in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum, and the National WWI Museum. Students also toured, studied, and worked at the State Historical Society of Iowa and Living History Farms.